Dining at Zenkichi is an all-around experience, beginning when you open the door to the stairs leading you to the basement, in this bleak, completely unremarkable office building. Once you’ve descended, you’ll wander through a lobby that looks like a bamboo forest, to immerse into a selectively lit dining space composed of small, semi-private booths. As with the upstairs bistro called House of Small Wonder, Zenkichi’s perk is its all-embracing conceptual design – the basement has been completely remodeled from floor to ceiling to re-create a truly Japanese – In’ei Reisan – atmosphere, using black lacquered wood and bare bamboo, where guests enjoy a seasonal Omakase menu in seated in alcoves.
Oh Wilmersdorf, you beautiful district beyond the park, brimmed with undiscovered West-Berlin delights and blessed with the city’s maximum density of very fine Chinese restaurants. Like this place just off the hectic Bundesallee, called Shaniu’s House of Noodles and specializing in hand pulled noodles served in different varieties (still a rarity in this city, surprisingly).
If you’d ask me, when it comes to vegan food, Berlin still has a lot to do. Yes, there’s the wonderful Veganz with its two stores, and there’s the delicious Goodie’s delis (who just opened their fifth joint in Schlachtensee, but is not thinking about Mitte or Kreuzberg…), and then there are the gazillion vegan burger or burrito places, but if you’re not at all going for this fast vegan food, it can be difficult.
But what am I talking about, there are possibilities, and one very fine for a delicious 100% vegan dinner is Lucky Leek.
When it comes to restaurant-launches in Mitte these days, many of the new joints feature a way more styled interior than one is used to from the past years, when it’s been enough to create a living room-like atmosphere. A pioneer of this have always been the restaurateurs behind the Vietnamese restaurant group of Si An Trà Café, Chén Chè Tea House and Chi Sing restaurant and they’ve proven their tendency for innovative and creative interior design once again with their newest place called District Mot. It’s located in the former space of Chi Sing, which has been closed to be entirely restyled to resemble a Vietnamese street food parlor, complete with colorful plastic stools, plastic baskets with spicy sauces and toilet paper as napkin suspenders on each table. While it definitely earns points for creativity and effort, the food has received mixed reviews, tending towards the negative with some of my friends. Until I received a message from Carson Chan, in which he was beyond excited about this addition to the Mitte food scene.
Some people call the Kantstraße the Chinatown of Berlin, which is basically a ridiculous exaggeration. If at all, it could be called Asia-town, or maybe Asia-street, which makes no sense and should thus be dismissed. Still, most of Berlin’s prolific Asian restaurants and shops are to be found on this street, and this very blog is in fact working hard on compiling reviews on all the worthwhile joints, until now led by our favorites Dao and Aroma. So I was very happy to follow a recommendation for Papaya.